Miranda Rights What Criminal Suspect-Detainees Should Know About Custodial Interrogation
Miranda Rights are constantly shown on TV as officers forgetting to tell the accused their rights. In reality, it's more than that and when an officer must give a Miranda Rights depends on the situation. Learn more about how Miranda Rights work from experienced defense attorneys in Columbus, OH.
What is Miranda Rights and When Do They Come Into Play?The essence of Miranda rights, enshrined in the Supreme Court Case, Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), grant criminal suspect-detainees core protections while in police custody, as follows:
(1) The right to remain silent. This simply means that you do not have to speak to law enforcement or answer any questions that may incriminate you (in deference to the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination). You can invoke the right prior to or during interrogation, and if you do so while questioning is in progress, it must immediately cease, and an attorney must be called or appointed before interrogation resumes.
(2)Fifth Amendment protection —Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. This connotes that if you say anything incriminating (e.g., if you confess to the commission of a crime), your inculpatory statement(s) will be admissible against you at trial.
(3)You have the right to request an attorney (in accordance with Six Amendment protections).
(4)If you are indigent, the court will appoint an attorney for you.
Miranda rights apply while a suspect-detainee is questioned while subjected to custodial interrogation, without the freedom to leave.
What does ‘Custody’ Mean?Custody occurs subsequent to arrest. When a suspect is arrested, Miranda warnings need not be read. Only after the suspect is in police custody and questioning begins are Miranda rights at issue. Searches can be conducted without Miranda warnings if the suspect is deemed to be armed and dangerous or poses a threat to the community.
What Constitutes Custodial Interrogation?Custodial interrogation means potentially self-incriminating questions pertaining to the alleged offense and the suspect-detainee’s possible involvement in it. Simple interrogatories or “booking questions” pertaining to identity (e.g., your name and contact information) do not fall within the purview of interrogation for Miranda purposes.
The Waiver of Miranda RightsA suspect-detainee can waive his or her Miranda rights by voluntarily speaking to law enforcement without the presence of an attorney. Every waiver must be knowing, intelligent, and voluntary, considering the totality of the circumstances (State v. Clark, 38 Ohio St.3d 252, 261, 527 N.E.2d 844 (1988)).
If, during the course of interrogation, you ‘plead’ your Fifth Amendment rights, you invoke the right to remain silent. This can be done at any time after you consent to questioning by police.
Exceptions to MirandaThere are three exceptions to the administration of Miranda rights:
(1) The Routine Booking-Questions Exception (e.g., “what is your name?” “What is your address?” are not subject to Miranda dictates.
(2) The Informant/Undercover Agent Exception— Informants and undercover agents with first-hand, pertinent information about the alleged criminal activity—even if they are paid by the government—can offer confessions without Miranda constraints. This is due to the fact that the person placed under custodial interrogation is not subjected to police coercion and domination. Once a suspect has been charged, however, the government may not use an undercover agent to circumvent the accused’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel (Massiah v. United States, 377 U.S. 201 (1964)).
(3) Public Safety Exception—If there is an imminent threat to public safety and information pertaining to the alleged offense must be obtained immediately, law enforcement need not adhere to Miranda rules.
Consequences of the Failure to Administer Miranda RightsAny statements obtained from a suspect-detainee prior to the administration of Miranda rights are inadmissible at trial, especially those tending to incriminate the that individual. The rationale is grounded in the very purpose of Miranda: to protect overreaching by law enforcement to compel self-incrimination. Failure to administer the rights altogether results in the prosecution’s inability to produce or rely on any evidence obtained against or gleaned from the suspect-detainee during custodial interrogation. In other words, all evidence obtained or seized in violation of Miranda will be deemed to be “fruit of the poisonous tree,” subject to the exclusionary rule, and thus, inadmissible at trial (Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961)).